Instant gratification

WELL, IT LOOKS like the Philippine men’s basketball team a.k.a. Gilas Pilipinas made my comment last week almost prophetic as indeed they managed to come home from the FIBA 2019 World Cup in China with an unblemished record of not winning a single game.

But really, are we even surprised with their embarrassing and pathetic display of how the game of international basket ball should not be played? I supposed not; it was rather an expected turn out.

The much vaunted Gilas Pilipinaswent to the FIBA 2019 World Cup competitions with nothing more than puso, a feeling of entitlement and that truly Filipino instant gratification mentality.

For the uninitiated, before you get lost in translation:

Instant (or immediate) gratification is a term that refers to the temptation, and resulting tendency, to forego a future benefit in order to obtain a less rewarding but more immediate benefit. 

Meanwhile, the other national teams that also qualified for the FIBA 2019 World Cup spent months in preparation; endless trainings, tune up games and leaving no stone unturned that indeed their country will be represented by the best professional basketball players in the land.

And these teams have only one goal, and that is to win or die trying. They did not join the competition just for the experience of being there or to sample the local cuisine.

On the other hand, Gilas Pilipinaswas hastily formed a few weeks before the actual competition started, never really had serious training and tune up games, and are not exactly the best professional basketball players qualified to wear the national jersey.

For sure there were some players with “flashes of brilliance” and would probably be good if not outstanding playing in the PBA or the Philippine Basketball Association. Sadly the kind of basketball played in the PBA is totally different from the kind of basketball played in the top tiers of international basketball.

International basketball i.e. FIBA 2019 World Cup, is serious basketball played on the highest level with the best professional basketball players. The prestige and level of competition is akin to football’s FIFA World Cup.

And then you have the players of Gilas Pilipinas all adept and so used to the perverted kind of basketball played in the PBA.

The PBA or the Philippine Basketball Association is not a professional basketball league; it is a live and televised entertainment program using a corrupted form of basketball as the main game show.

It is not only on the same level with that very popular noontime variety show “Eat Bulaga” but their lives are intertwined as well. The PBA is the “Eat Bulaga” of basketball while “Eat Bulaga” is the PBA of stupid, mind-numbing noontime television variety shows.

Basketball in the Philippines remains in a perpetual state, frozen in time somewhere in the 1980s during the glory days of the PBA and from there the game never developed and is still played the way Robert Jaworski, Rudy Destrito and Ramon Fernandez played it during their heydays.

Let’s put it this way: Philippine basketball is several decades behind the development of basketball as an international sport.

The average Filipino has a shattered psyche i.e. the victim mentality a.k.a. the underdog and the classic palusot, meaning he does not want to work hard for it yet he feels entitled to have it.

Nothing is more evident in basketball, the Pinoy’s national pastime other than beauty contests and politics. He believes he’s God’s gift to basketball and is entitled to win all international competitions.

He wants to win and be champion yet he does not want to work hard for it, relying on palusot with that “Barangay Ginebra mentality”, lately with puso.

Another funny thing, in a nation where the average height of males is five feet five inches, they all dream of playing basketball “above the rim.”

For all that nonsense about basketball as the “national sports”, is there any Filipino playing in the NBA or National Basketball Association?

Yes, I know you’re going to say there’s Jordan Clarkson and he holds a Philippine passport. But he has never seriously played for the national team in a major competition. Sure, he endorsed the products of Smart Communication wearing a Gilas Pilipinas jersey but apart from that what has he really done for Philippine basketball?

We still have four years to prepare for the FIBA 2023 World Cup which will be in Manila. Let’s hope that by that time we will have a real team well prepared with the proper players to do the country honours as the host and not another embarrassment. ([email protected]/PN)

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